When breathing, your diaphragm will naturally contract and flex, drawing air in and out of the lungs. Singing from your diaphragm will mean flexing it more deeply than you would do during regular breathing. It’s important to maintain a diaphragm in a flexed position in order to control the release of pressure that moves across the vocal cords. In order to sing better, a singer will need to learn how to preserve a supply of air in the lungs, which holds and supports a small amount of air released across the vocals. This is how the diaphragm works.
How to Sing from Your Stomach Area: The Air Test
Imagine a balloon that’s filled with air, and the sound it makes when the lip at the top is squeezed. It’s only a small amount of air that’s being released that will make that noise. It’s the large amount of air left in the balloon that will give the small amount of air the force it needs to make the sound. Once the balloon has lost too much air the sound begins to dwindle and the pitch will waver and fall. The same thing can happen when it comes to having an adequate amount of air while singing.
You should think of your voice as an instrument. A good singer will need to strengthen their vocals in order to effectively control the diaphragm.
There are several deep breathing exercises that you can do that will help to strengthen the ab wall muscles, the intercostals muscles, and the lower back muscles. This will work to keep the diaphragm in the flexed position. While you’re practicing these exercises, if you keep the lateral and intercostals muscles held in position, the flattened diaphragm will work to support breathing. As the ribs begin to widen, the ab wall muscles expand and engage as the air is being released.
Common Breathing Issues for Singers
The most common issue with breathing that a singer has will involve releasing the diaphragm from the beginning note, which gives the air away at the start. This is the air that they’ll need and lack at the end of the phrase. Place your finger on your lips and sing the first few notes of a simple scale up and down on “oh.” Can you feel wind blowing against the finger? If you do, then you’re giving the air away. The goal should not be to feel wind, but warmth.
The correct technique for singing will require maintaining your breath at the end of each phrase or note. You don’t want to release the air as you finish a note without exhaling. Instead, you need to stop the breath and inhale. This is referred to as catch breath. Put your finger to your lips again and note if you feel any wind this time. Resist the contraction of the diaphragm in order to stop the exhale at the end of the phase.